Saturday, October 27, 2012

A First Timer's Experience at the San Diego Bike Kitchen-Bikes del Pueblo

By Maria Olivas - SDCBC Volunteer and former Education Coordinator
I've known about the San Diego Bike Kitchen - Bikes de Pueblo for years. I know most of the volunteers and have worked with a few of them regarding developing programs. However, I've never actually been there, any repairs on my bike were usually done by my husband. With the exception of a flat, I've never really bothered to work on my own bike. I figure it's an even exchange; I cook and he is the house mechanic. 

At least once a month, I see Chris from bikes del pueblo. Every time I see him I ask him about maintenance and every time he suggest I stop by the shop. I never did, at least not until this past weekend. A friend of mine suggested we stop by; she's seen my bike tube jewelry and suggested I pick up parts from the Bike Kitchen. She is working on up-cycling bike parts for furniture and thought she may do the same. So here we go, concerned about being intimidated by the excessive bike knowledge of all the volunteers I figured it was a quick in and out situation.
Upon arrival I seen Chris, a kind familiar face welcoming us in, introducing us to everyone in the shop made it comfortable to stay. We wonder around and discover their excess parts from donated bikes. Most have been broken down and categorized into old milk crates. It's an organized system of every part imaginable ready to be placed on a bike. It's a bike builders dream and building bikes they were. Upon our arrival four people where building bikes from nothing but the extra parts lying around the shop. Eric went into the shop on Sunday morning with nothing and said the only way he is getting home is by riding a bike out. Leon worked on four bikes, three were his own projects and one belonged to someone who rolled in needing some help.

With so many extra parts and an upcoming move at the end of the month, Bikes del Pueblo is looking to consolidate to make the move easier. Assembled bikes ready to roll out the door would make the move easier. Since my own bike didn't need any work, Chris suggested we make our own bikes. I though, no way, I have no idea what I am doing. After being reassured by all the volunteer mechanics that they would help (there were four on Sunday), I went for it.  

Chris helped me choose a frame, set it up on the stand and build it. Of course, he was doing most of the work, guiding me and educating me regarding every step and part. There sure are a lot of steps. Since top quality parts are not available, we "made it work." Dustin took over after Chris left and helped me put the brakes together, or at least started to. The brakes were a challenge and the shop was about to close up, so we set it aside for another day.

Cleanup keeps it organized and also made them realize how tough the move would be. Bikes del Pueblo is at the snowdrop location in city heights for the rest of the month. They must be out by November 1, but they are still looking for a new location. If you know of a free location please contact them at Bikes del Pueblo is a free service and volunteer run, your donation of a facility or quality parts are greatly needed.  

No comments:

Post a Comment